42 long-term care beds sitting empty on P.E.I.

·1 min read
Some of the long-term care beds will be opening again over the next two weeks. (Sara Fraser/CBC - image credit)
Some of the long-term care beds will be opening again over the next two weeks. (Sara Fraser/CBC - image credit)

Health PEI has 42 empty long-term care beds because it doesn't have the staff to operate them.

Health Minister Ernie Hudson provided that figure in response to a question from Liberal MLA Robert Henderson in the legislature Wednesday. It does not include any empty beds in privately-run care homes.

Henderson expressed concern for the Islanders currently waiting for those beds, either at home or in acute care beds in hospital. Hudson said the staff shortage in long-term care homes is because staff had to be moved to provide pandemic-related services.

"Frontline workers that may have, in cases, had to be redeployed because of testing, immunization, along that line," said Hudson.

Some staff are being moved back, he said, and over the next two weeks half of those beds will be opened again.

Henderson also asked about respite care beds that are empty due to staff shortages.

"Families have to pull together, try to look after their loved one. It's probably a father, mother, grandparent, you know, because it's 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year that you're dealing with this," he said.

"Families burn out on this stuff and it's a service that government has said it's going to provide."

Hudson was unable to provide a number immediately regarding respite care beds, but said he would return with an answer.

He also said the province is in the process of creating a 10-year plan to determine staffing needs in health care.

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